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updated: 3/28/2013 8:50 AM

Cook County judge retains charges against NATO protesters

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Associated Press

A Cook County judge has refused to drop terrorism charges against three activists accused of plotting attacks on President Barack Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's home during last year's NATO summit.

Brian Church of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Jared Chase of Keene, N.H.; and Brent Vincent Betterly of Oakland Park, Fla., have been in custody since their arrest days before the start of the summit last May. They have pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Attorney Michael Deutsch, arguing Wednesday for all three, wanted four of eight counts related to Illinois' anti-terrorism statutes dismissed.

Deutsch says the law has a vague definition of terrorism and could "criminalize innocent conduct."

Prosecutors say the men's intent was to agitate a larger population, which makes them liable under the statute.

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